Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

If you are returning to work following a career break, there are a number of schemes and initiatives available within RDM that can assist.

Flexible working

RDM supports informal and formal  flexible working arrangements where these are operationally possible. Flexible working arrangements can take many forms from the traditional part-time arrangements to compressed hours, job-sharing, staggered hours, term-time only working, or working from home ("teleworking").   For informal arrangements, discuss with your line manager. Employees with 26 weeks continuous service have the right to request a formal flexible working arrangement. If the request is granted, this will be a permanent change to your terms and conditions unless otherwise agreed.  Learn more about flexible working at the University.

Finding a mentor

Mentoring is a powerful personal development tool, which can be an effective way of helping you to progress in your career and life more generally. Some people have found mentoring very useful when returning to work after a career break and the RDM mentoring scheme will match mentors with relevant experience(s) with a mentee who wishes to benefit from their experience. Find out more about the RDM Mentoring Scheme.

Family Friendly Benefits

RDM also has a number of family friendly benefits that can be very helpful to people returning to work after a career break.

Funding for researchers returning to work after parental leave

There are funding streams dedicated to assisting researchers who are returning to work after leaving to start a family, or for people who would like to explore the possibility of funding specifically tailored to flexible working patterns. Within RDM enquires should be directed to Sarah Ball, Research Strategy Co-ordinator.

Two funding streams currently identified as particularly suitable for parents are outlined below, if you are interested in either of these, please contact the admin team of your prospective division for more information.

Returning Carer's Fund

The Returning Carer’s Fund was established as part of the Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Fund for the advancement of diversity among academic and research staff at Oxford. Applications are invited from women and men for funding to support the development of their research career following a break to care for a child or close relative. The expectation is that awards will normally be up to £5k.

Daphne Jackson Fellowships

These are unique fellowships designed to return Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics professionals to their careers after a break. Fellows normally carry out their research part-time over 2 years, in a university or research establishment in the UK. The Fellowships are flexible and include a tailored training programme designed to update skills and knowledge and support you in your return to research. 

Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships

This scheme is for outstanding scientists in the UK at an early stage of their research career who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues.  Female candidates are particularly invited to apply. 

The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine.


OCDEM (Churchill site) holds a parent/carers group for all staff/students who have recently returned from maternity/paternity leave, are due to go on maternity/paternity leave, or any staff who have children or caring responsibilities.

Work + Family Space

Offering access to emergency back-up childcare and adultcare, a 'speak to an expert' phone line and a wide range of guides and webinars through a website called the Work + Family space. University employees can register for free with the Work + Family Space (formerly My Family Care) to access support on family related issues.